Whitecaps manager Pena eager to coach, inspire

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Until he’s told that the Minor League Baseball season has been scrapped altogether, West Michigan Whitecaps manager Brayan Pena is holding out hope that he’ll have a team to coach and games to play.

Hope is kind of Pena’s thing. It got him through the dangerous defection from Cuba. At 16, he fled while playing on a Cuban junior team while playing in Venezuela.

“I think coming from what I came from, you learn a lot. You learn to appreciate America. You learn to appreciate what it brings — that’s freedom, democracy,” he said. “At the same time, from a baseball standpoint, I take nothing for granted. I’m going to continue to work, just go out there and do whatever it takes to appreciate the opportunity that you have.”

==Above, Pena describes his road to pro baseball in the U.S.==

Pena, a former Detroit Tigers catcher, got the Whitecaps job last fall.

“We were expecting something bigger than sitting down at home,” Pena said, saying that he’s taking the time now to learn more about his players and what they’ll need when play resumes.